Are you a small organization on a budget, or maybe a one-man or one-woman show? Afraid you can’t afford a custom-built website solution? Here are website options for organizations on a budget.
WordPress.org can be DIY, but there may be more of a learning curve than you have time for right now. And maybe your organization’s website budget is tight, precluding you from hiring a designer and developer.
In that case, you might want to look into a site builder instead. There are many options available, like WordPress.com, Wix, or Weebly, which might fit your budget better. One advantage of these solutions is that you leave the responsibility for your site security in their hands, so you don’t need to worry about keeping things updated. Here is a quick overview of a few website options for organizations on a budget:
WordPress.com uses the same great open source content management system as .org, with the difference that it is not self-hosted. You are more limited in the plugins and themes you can use and in the customizations you can add as compared with the self-hosted version. As with the site builders mentioned below, you can have free hosting, or paid hosting if you want to use your own domain name or have access to other features. WordPress.com comes with the non-negligible advantage of being able to be easily moved to a self-hosted WordPress.org set-up if you decide you want the flexibility of self-hosting, and/or of hiring a designer or developer down the road.
Wix has a reputation of being easy to use and having nice-looking websites. The drag-and-drop builder lets you construct your website even if you have never done so before. There is a free option if you don’t mind having Wix in the domain name, or there is a range of pricing options if you want to use your own domain name, remove Wix ads and customize your site more fully.
Weebly is a website builder with the same basic principles as Wix. You can have a free site, or a paid site, depending on the options you choose – ad-free, custom domain name, video, audio, and so on. It’s easy to use, with a drag and drop editor, and the sites look good.
Squarespace has a free trial, but not a free option after that. On the other hand, it doesn’t put ads on your website, and includes a free custom domain if you pay annually. There are templates to choose from, and it’s fairly simple to build a nice-looking website.
Ghost sets itself apart from Wix, Weebly, and SquareSpace by virtue of being open source and being managed by a non-profit organization. It can be run on your own server, or you can use Ghost(Pro) to host it on their servers. Ghost’s pricing is based both on options and on pageviews, so you’ll pay more if you have a lot of site visitors.
Medium is different from the others, because its focus is on text rather than design elements. If your purpose is to get the word out, but you don’t necessarily need the branding that would go along with a more typical website design, Medium might be the site for you.
Google also has an option, called Google Sites. The advantage of it is that it should integrate seamlessly with Google’s other products: Gmail, Google Calendar, Google+, Google Drive, and so on. You will need a free Google account to create a site, and there are further paid options available.
If you choose to use one of these website options for organizations on a budget to build your website, we encourage you to use an option that allows you to use your own domain name. This signals to your visitors that you are serious and trustworthy.
These options won’t provide you with the personalized support and advice of a web designer or developer. But one of these may be enough to get your website started and create your online presence. These are all valid website options for organizations on a budget, so take a look and see which one might be a good fit for your organization.
Note that the list of services above is provided for your information. RED focuses on self-hosted WordPress and doesn’t offer support for these services. However, if you check out pricing for all the features you want with one of these services, and decide you’d rather partner with a web professional for your website – someone you can contact with any question you have, and get a quick, helpful reply, and someone who can cover the details, large and small, for you – RED is happy to provide you with a free estimate.
Check out this article if you’re not sure where to start with your website project.